Before becoming a disciple of Christ, Matthew had been a Roman tax collector. It is presumed that Matthew wrote his gospel in Judea and later preached in Ethiopia. According to the tradition of the Old Church, his gospel was the first in the Scriptures and the command to Christianise all peoples is stated most clearly in it: “Go then and make all peoples disciples /…/, teaching them to follow all that I have commanded to you!” (Mt 28:19-20).
Matthew’s symbol is an angel; his attributes are a writing quill (lost from the sculpture) and a book, which refer to his writing of the gospel.
St. Matthew’s Day, ‘madisepäev’, is 21 September in the folk calendar.